Battle of Lissa, 20 July 1866 is regarded as the first significant battle between predominantly ironclad ships. It is also notable for the use of rams during the battle, a tactic not seen in a major engagement since Lepanto nearly 300 years before. It would be thought of as a possible tactic by armoured warships up until the “Dreadnought” era when the sheer power of the guns made close-in fighting obsolete.
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The stamp and souvenir sheet depict the sea battle and the portrait of Admiral Tegetthoff by Georg Decker. The author of the painting depicting the battle is Carl Frederik Sorensen. Croatian Post has printed this souvenir sheet as a joint issue with Slovenian Post.
It was fought between an Italian fleet of 12 ironclads, 14 wooden ships and various scouts and transports under Admiral Count Carlo di Persano, attempting to capture the island, which was intercepted by an Austrian fleet of not much over half its size. The Austrian Admiral, Wilhelm von Tegetthoff ordered his ironclads to ram the enemy, two of the Italian ironclads were destroyed, and with the Austrians holding a position between the Italians and the island, the Italians withdrew.
The Austrian victory is seen as due to the order to ram and the timidity of the Italian commander.